GDF complains of vehicle shortage, slow upgrading of old fleet

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Commander Vernon Burnett of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) told Parliamentarians on Monday that the Army continues to grapple with shortages in vehicles even as it clings to an old fleet for its daily operations.

He was at the time answering questions in the Public Accounts Committee on high maintenance costs on vehicles back in 2016.

Committee members were particularly concerned about the sum of $8.5M spent at the time for maintenance of a pick up during that year.

Commander Burnett, in justifying that spending among others, said the Force has 232 vehicles for land use, and continues to spend large sums on vehicle repairs because of the slow replenishing of what he said is “an old fleet of vehicles.”

The Public Accounts Committee during the meeting on Monday (Photo: News Room/January 11, 2021)

He said currently there is a shortage of vehicles in the GDF where vehicles that are assigned to Commanders and other senior officers had to be taken away and diverted for other operational uses along the country’s borders and coastland.

“We don’t have enough vehicles,” he told the Committee.

Under intense questioning from both government and opposition committee members, Commander Burnette said “it is indeed a fact that we are spending a lot on maintenance of our fleet but that is because we haven’t been replacing those [old] vehicles in a timely manner and in the quantities we would like.”

Commander Burnette explained that intense operations that took place in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 incurred high incidents of wear and tear.

He said the GDF is itself concerns with getting rid of those old vehicles which continue to incur high maintenance costs.

The GDF currently does in house servicing and maintenance along with support from external contractors.
But although the specific issue deals with 2016, the GDF was called out in subsequent audit reports for high vehicle maintenance cost; the latest in the 2019 AG report.

According to the Report, the GDF expended some $91.6M on the maintenance of 30 vehicles.

This represents an average maintenance cost of $3M per vehicle.

But more significantly, ten vehicles were maintained at costs amounting to $46.4M, which represents an even higher average maintenance cost per vehicle ($4.6M).

The report noted that remarkably, one Toyota Hilux Double-Cab acquired over 11 years ago was maintained at a cost of $7.1M; whilst, a Ford Ranger was maintained at a cost of $5.6M.

Also, a Ford F-350 and Ford Ranger Double Cab were maintained at costs amounting to $6.4M and $5.5M, respectively.

However, based on a list submitted for audit, the Force has deemed these two vehicles unserviceable.

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